ZSpheres in Blender?


I’m always looking for better ways to create simple base meshes and I came across this cool app called “Skinny”. Unfortunately it’s not for Blender 2.5

If Blender 2.5 had an option under “Envelope” bones where you could convert the bones to a mesh, then a person could easily build a ZSphere type of armature and use it as a base mesh.

Unfortunately I’m not a programmer so I don’t know how much work it would be to add an option to convert the “Envelope” bones to a mesh but it sure would be a great feature for allowing you to quickly create all types of base meshes that a person could then use for sculpting.

What do you think. Is this even a possibility?


Blender Envelope Bones

It could be possible to do it with python script. Something like

for x in armature.bones:
(tab) rad = x.getBoneDeformationDistance()
(tab) pos = x.getBoneTipPosition()
(tab) Blender.addSphere(radius = rad, position = pos)

But I prefer to model everything from scratch starting with a plane :D.

Thanks. So would a script like that convert the bones to a mesh. Please explain?

I also usually model from a cube but I’ve also used ZSpheres to quickly build up a simple base mesh which I then tweak the poly’s on or retop before final sculpting. In some instances I’ve found ZSpheres to be a simple and quick way to work up initial figures and poses and ultimately I’d rather do this in Blender if I could. :slight_smile:


I have searched the net for ZSpheres to know what exactly are you talking about. I think it is possible to make spheres from bones with Blender API (python script). It could be also possible to parent these spheres to that Armature.

But I am sure that converting those spheres into one mesh, which is wrapped over all spheres is more advanced task for programmer :). It could be possible to make that mesh by hand with Shrinkwrap modifier (similar method as if you do retopology).

Interesting, I have never thought of using the Shrinkwrap modifier. Have you tried this and does it seem to be a viable alternative? I’ve never used the Shrinkwrap modifier so I don’t even know how it works but I’m going to look into it. If you have an example I’d love to see it.


Check this video from CGCookie to see it in action (it is a tutorial also).

Thanks Reiko, Yes that would be a lot faster than modeling the whole mesh. I might give that a try.

What I like about ZSpheres is you can quickly build an armature then press the (A Key) to sculpt on the mesh then at any point (even after sculpting) you can press the (A Key) and change the pose if need be.


Heres a short video

That looks fantastic. Now I am sure that I cannot help you with this :D. Things on the video are very advanced :). But I absolutely agree that it is very good for quick prototyping rigged characters.